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Liquor store upgrades checkout counters

Worthington Liquor Store employee David Copperud assists a customer in the new checkout area at the facility. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)1 / 2
Worthington Liquor Store manager Dan Wycoff stands in the new tasting area at the facility. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)2 / 2

WORTHINGTON — Worthington Liquor Store Manager Dan Wycoff has an uncomplicated reaction to his new checkout stands.

“Besides the word ‘wow’?” he said. “What I tell people is as much business as we’re doing and this community likes to see progress, I think we’re showing the ‘wow’ and progress in this community in a positive way that everybody can take hold of.”

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Recently, the store replaced the checkout stands at the front of the store. Soon, credit card machines will be installed at the end of the stand.

“Some of the biggest issues that I had with the front end were, first of all, the other front end was very old,” Wycoff said. “The efficiency of getting customers through the store and through the cash registers needed to be improved. With this new layout and design of the front end, we’ve increased the width of where the customer walks, so we increased the size of the traffic flow area.”

Wycoff requested the improvements be done prior to the holiday season, which is the busiest time in the store. Before, the store had only two checkout stands. Now, a third one will be used when lines become long.

“We added a third cash register for the real busy times,” Wycoff said. “That’s going to be used mainly for the busier times of the year. You can’t open three check stands unless you have the personnel.”

The total cost of the new front end is a little more than $46,000.

“The primary focus is about customer service,” Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark said. “We need to make the transaction process as smooth as possible. We wanted to help that with the customer service focus and getting folks in and out properly.”

Not only does the third stand help with flow of customers, but it also provides a permanent place for tastings.

“By utilizing that third check stand, we created a multi-dimensional check stand and sample area,” Wycoff said. “Besides the purpose of a check stand, the sample area will help influence us to sample more often. With our ever-increasing business, I think that’s one thing we can add to our value when you shop here — offering sampling more often to increase your shopping experience enjoyment.”

With the added area, the liquor store is going to have tastings every Friday from now until the end of the year.

“We’re going to be sampling at our new sample bar to brag about our new look and get everybody ready for the holidays,” Wycoff said. “We want everybody to come in and see it. We want to brag about it and show everybody our new improvement.”

The new check stands are a deep wooden color and have increased three feet in length.

“The seven-foot length versus the four-foot length, the big benefit of that is if there are three people in line, they all can put their products up there,” Wycoff said. “People used to have to put it on the floor. They are in the seven-foot check stand, so the area outside is people-walking. Before, the other two customers were in the walk area.”

During the year, the liquor store services about 38 customers per hour, or about 465 per day. However, during peak times, that increases to 46 people per hour.

The average sale per customer in Worthington has gone from $21.59 in 2012 to $22.03 so far in 2013, with the busiest time still to come. In 2013, the liquor store has increased sales seven percent.

“Some of that every year is price increases — you have to figure that at a percent or two,” Wycoff said. “Product selection, (we’re) keeping up with the liquor, wine and beer trends, and I still feel we’re increasing our retail trade area with the help of our other retail stores. I’m helping those people come or stay in town longer.”

The council approved more appropriations from the liquor store reserves to the general fund to the tune of $225,000. That’s equal to seven points on the levy.

“It’s definitely a positive element to help keep taxes low and be able to provide some resources to help operate the city, and that’s a net gain when we’re trying to move things forward as a community,” Clark said. “Not every community has it, and it’s something special for Worthington.

“Bottom line, it’s a nice asset to have and contribute to the overall financial picture for the city.”